Yesterday I checked on the status of my stolen blog posts. This is what I saw:
What a relief. Since mailing a formal complaint to the site host, I have been checking the site every day.
Prior to filing that complaint, I had contacted the site's owner. Even though they never replied, after several days I found that "View text" links had been added at the bottom of all the stolen posts:
What this did, was to link back to my original post, though you wouldn't know that from the name of the link. The "Add Favorite" linked back to the offender's home page, while "Close" did nothing.
This type of link back is a popular scraping technique, in hopes that the author of the original content will think, "Oh well. At least they linked back to me. Maybe I'll get some traffic out of it." However, it doesn't give proper credit in regards to authorship. Sometimes they will use the author's name as the link back. Whether or not this is acceptable is up to the original author.
If you own the content you have the right to choose if and how it is used. Creative Commons has several licensing options, whereby you can choose how you want to allow your work to be shared. I've looked these over, but still, I would like to be asked first, especially considering I don't know where my content might end up. For example, I don't want my posts or photos being used on a site which sells viagra or promotes adult only content. Actually, my preference is that they just say that the content exists and give a link to it.
Even though the site which used my posts has been suspended, I was advised by the host that
If a Counter DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is submitted, the site will be reactivated & it will be up to the two parties to figure this out.In other words, if the thief can provide "documentation" that the content was originally theirs, then I have to find another course of action.
When I first discovered the splog, I spent a lot of time tracking down and contacting some of the others whose content had been stolen. Some of these were interested in doing something about it, others didn't care. I figured that if several people complained rather than just me, we could permanently shut down the site. Hopefully that is the case.
However, because a thief can file a counter-DMCA, I'm not sure that copyright notices are enough. After all, blog post dates can be changed or the stolen content can be edited. That's why I finally decided to register with MyFreeCopyright. This free online service offers 3rd party proof that you hold the original copyright to your online work.
I registered my blog via my blog's site feed url. With each new post I publish, I am emailed dated documentation verifying my ownership of the material including publishing date, title, description, and a digital fingerprint which I can present as proof that I am indeed the original author. MyFreeCopyright keeps this information along with a copy of the original, so that I have 3rd party copyright proof. Hopefully I will never need to use it.
So that's what happened. In some ways I hate the bother of having to add copyright precautions to my blog, but on the other hand, I'm not willing to make crime easy for someone else.
Now, I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get back to fiber and textile content! I've still got waffle weave on the loom, and I'm still spinning that cotton lint. More updates on those soon.
Posted 23 Aug 2008 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com
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